Digicel refutes sale of Pacific unit report

Telecommunications company Digicel Group has refuted media reports that it is considering the sale of its Pacific operations in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga and Nauru.

Last week the The Irish Times newspaper in Dublin reported that the Carribean-headquartered company had received a number suitors for the least-indebted part of millionaire businessman Denis O'brien's business portfolio.

A Digicel spokesman confirmed to the Irish Times newspapers that the Group has “received approaches from a number of parties in respect of its Pacific operations”, but he refused to give more information on the negotiations between the parties.

But Suva-based Digicel Regional C.E.O. Pacific Group, Shally Jannif, told the Samoa Observer in an emailed response that the company does not respond to “speculation”.

“Please note that we don’t respond to speculation,” she said, after this newspaper asked her to confirm if the sale of the telecommunication firm’s Pacific portfolio is being negotiated as reported.

In May last year the company denied similar reports that it was on the verge of selling its Pacific unit to Chinese state-owned company China Mobile Ltd.

At that time the Australian Financial Review reported that China Mobile Ltd was doing due diligence in a deal that could be worth US$900 million.

Meanwhile, Ms Jannif has announced that Digicel will invest US$10 million ($24 million tala) on its LTE networks in five Pacific markets in the first three months of this year.

She said the investment will lead to better online experiences with stronger connectivity to enable their customers to enjoy the benefits of a digital lifestyle. 

“When we promise simply more to customers, that’s what we are going to deliver. This is all about building better online experiences with stronger connectivity so that our customers can live and enjoy the full benefits of a connected digital lifestyle," Ms Jannif said in a statement.

“We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone happy new year and to thank our customers for their support during 2020. We value their loyalty and we never take it for granted. 

"That’s why as we enter 2021, we will focus all our energies on ensuring we deliver simply more and our customers always benefit from being Better Together with Digicel.”

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